A name change. I liked “JC273” but the longer name feels better as a title for the project. And this morning I realized why — “273 Relics for John Cage” is precise and accurate. I like the explicitness. The book is just a reliquary to hold all 273 relics (texts, photo extractions, and yes, blank pages), and the name reflects this simplicity.
Now, after uploading the book files to the printer, I’m starting to think about which relics to realize at a larger scale. And as they’re selected and produced (a single gigantic digital print, a series of screen prints), each one will take on the “JC + number” structure. Following this logic, JC273 would be the last relic, which in fact is a blank page.
And I really love this logic. It’s a system that’s revealing itself to me as the process unfolds (“a series of actions”).
“A likeness is an aid to memory” is one of my favorite phrases from Aristotle’s On Memory and Recollection, and makes several appearances within the texts of “273 Relics for John Cage.” Aristotle’s full passage refers to the exact process of remembering, as an act of imagination. Memory as the internal production of an image, which is both an object of contemplation in itself and a mental picture of something else. Aristotle asks:
“What does one actually remember?
Is what one remembers the present affection, or the original from which it arose? If the former, then we could not remember anything in its absence; if the latter, how can we, by perceiving the affection, remember the absent fact which we do not perceive? If there is in us something like an impression or a picture, why should the perception of just this be memory of something else and not of itself? For when one exercises his memory this affection is what he considers and perceives. How, then, does he remember what is not present? This would imply that one can also see and hear what is not present. But surely in a sense this can and does occur. Just as the picture painted on the panel is at once a picture and a portrait, and though one and the same, is both, yet the essence of the two is not the same, and it is possible to think of it both as a picture and as a portrait, so in the same way we must regard the mental picture within us both as an object of contemplation in itself and as a mental picture of something else. In so far as we consider it in itself, it is an object of contemplation or a mental picture, but in so far as we consider it in relation to something else, e.g., as a likeness, it is also an aid to memory.”